Friday, September 24, 2010
Mamie Van Doren.
Hughes gave Van Doren a bit part in the film, Jet Pilot. Her line consisted of one word, "Look!". In 1951, she posed for famous pin-up girl artist Alberto Vargas, the painter of the glamorous "Vargas Girls." His painting of Van Doren was on the July cover of Esquire.
Van Doren did a few more bit parts in movies at RKO, including, His Kind of Woman (1951) starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell and Vincent Price.
She was a showgirl in New York in Monte Proser's nightclub version of Billion Dollar Baby. Songwriter Jimmy McHugh discovered her for his musicals, then decided she was too good for the chorus line and should have dramatic training. While performing in the role of Marie in the film, Come Back, Little Sheba, Van Doren was seen by Phil Benjamin, a casting director at Universal International.
On January 20, 1953, Van Doren signed a contract with Universal Studios. The studio was hoping she would bring the same kind of success that 20th Century Fox had with Marilyn Monroe. Van Doren, whose signing day happened to be the same day as the inauguration of President Eisenhower, was given the first name Mamie for Ike's wife, Mamie Eisenhower.
Van Doren's first movie for Universal was, Forbidden (1953), playing a singer. She then made All-American (1953), In Yankee Pasha (1954) starring Jeff Chandler and Rhonda Fleming, in 1956 she played opposite Clint Eastwood in the film, Star in the Dust.
She also performed in some of the first movies to feature Rock & Roll music. In the film, Untamed Youth (1957), she was the first woman to sing rock and roll in a Hollywood musical (Eddie Cochran did the music for the film). This film was later featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000's "Untamed Youth" (1990).
Some of Van Doren's best known films are: Teacher's Pet (1958),
Born Reckless (1958), High School Confidential (1958), and The Beat Generation (1959). But Van Doren was just as well known for her provocative roles: Girls Town (1959), which provoked censors with a shower scene, The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (1960) she wore only fig leaves, and in other films, like The Beautiful Legs of Sabrina (1959), Sex Kittens Go to College (1960) and Vice Raid (1960).
Many of Van Doren's film roles showcased her figure and her wardrobe usually consisted of tight sweaters, low-cut blouses, form-fitting dresses, and daring (for the era) swimsuits. Van Doren did become a very famous Hollywood sex symbol. Marilyn, Mamie and Jayne Mansfield were known as the "Three M's." But by comparison, where Monroe succeeded in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Mansfield in, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. Universal cast Van Doren, with Francis the Talking Mule, in Francis Joins the WACS. She does have a websight. It is a little to racy for me to post here on, Singin and Dancing back in Time.